Sunday, February 24, 2013

Peter Rabbit's Ham and Cheese Garden Soup

We had a huge cabbage in our garden that needed picking (see it to the left). I wanted a soup with cabbage in it and thought ham and cheese sounded like good accompaniments to it. I made up this recipe. My family loved it! If you have a cabbage that needs to be eaten, here is a delicious and quick soup. As an homage to the pesky rabbit that is getting into my garden and causing havoc, we have named the soup "Peter Rabbit".

Peter Rabbit's Ham and Cheese Garden Soup

1/4 cup butter
1 yellow onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
1 carrot sliced (or 1/4 cup frozen chopped carrots)
1 celery stalk chopped
2 cups diced cooked ham
4 cups chicken stock
dash of cayenne pepper
dash of Louisiana hot sauce
3 stems of thyme (or 1/2 tsp. ground thyme)
2 Tbl. fresh parsley chopped (or 1 Tbl. dried parsley)
1 head of cabbage chopped
4 cups milk
3 Tbl. whole wheat flour
3 cups of sharp cheddar cheese
Kosher salt
Black pepper
1 green onion chopped (optional but awesome)

Heat the butter in a large heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Cook and stir in the onion, garlic, carrot and celery until the onion is clear. Add the ham. Stir in the chicken stock, cayenne pepper, Louisiana hot sauce, thyme and parsley. Bring to a boil. Add the cabbage. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in the milk. Slowly sprinkle the flour as you stir. If you add it too fast, you will have clumps. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes to allow the soup to thicken a bit. Stir in the cheese. Cook for an additional 5 minutes to allow the cheese to melt.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top each bowl with some chopped green onion. There is something magical about the combination of cabbage and green onion!  Feeds 6-8 people

Monday, February 18, 2013

Of beginnings

Buttercrunch Lettuce - so very yummy!
We are in the beginning planting stages for our Spring garden. The seeds are ordered. I purchased a few plants from Nelson Water Garden and planted those including a nice variety of lettuce and some spinach. I added a few more brocolli plants as my supply was wiped out by the creature of the night (still yet identified). We made some repairs to our aging fence and noted that the midnight raids on our garden have stopped. That points to a rabbit. Seeing as our next-door neighbor spotted a rabbit in her backyard, that is a good indication. Maybe my Spring garden has a chance!

this guy is ready to be harvested
We have a few nice fall cabbages that need harvesting.

Little Finger carrots are perfect for a
Square Foot Garden 6" soil depth. No peeling needed.

How I have missed fresh basil

Strawberry plants in bloom

A nice surprise. Beautiful purple rosemary flowers.

Garden 4 - planted with a few Spring greens

Swiss Chard was not appetizing to our
"creature of the night" so we got to
enjoy it all winter long. Delicious as a substitute for
lettuce on sandwiches or hamburgers.
Aren't new beginnings wonderful. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" Rejoice in that today my friend!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Time to Prepare Your Beds For Spring Planting!

Hello Square Foot Garden friends! It is time to start preparing your beds for your Spring babies. (Note: these instructions are for those that have an existing Square Foot Garden and need to refresh it for Spring) If you don't have your own compost*, or, like me, you need to supplement a bit, now is the time to stock up on your bags of compost. Remember, the more varied the mixture, the merrier your plants will be. Try to get several kinds and sources of compost. Mushroom, cow, chicken... Place one small shovel full of your mixture in each square. You can mix them ahead of time, or if you are lazy like me, you can just open each bag and divide out between the squares. It isn't an exact science. Mix well with the existing mixture in your beds. Now you are ready to start planting. Please consult your area planting guide. Harris County, Texas is here

*If you are using only compost from the store, you will need to add a Tablespoon or so of bone meal (per square - there are 16 squares in each 4 x 4 garden) to help prevent your leaves from turning yellow because of a calcium deficiency. Scratch it into the soil if you have already planted the square. If it is just bare soil, mix it in well. If you are making your own compost, put in lots of crunched up egg shells and your calcium deficiency problem will be solved.

P.S. - those of you looking for the trellis net can find it at Home Depot near the seed display (our Katy Fry Road one has it in the entrance foyer. It is at the top of a rack in a bag called "Ferry-Morse Vine & Veggie Trellis Net" 5' x 10' for $3.98) You will have to cut it down a bit. I couldn't find it at Lowe's in the seed department where they normally carry it, or I would have gotten it there. Sometimes Wal-Mart carries it.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Scientific Classifications of Homeschool Moms

After an exhaustive 20-year-study of the genus "homeschoolus motherus", scientist have been able to classify them into several main species. Note there are several sub-species, but this article does not cover those. There are some traits common to species which made the classification difficult. Cross-breeding has also yielded many mothers that exhibit traits from several species.

Healthfoodus - This mother will not allow anything artificial to touch the bottom of her shopping cart. She knows what essential oil to put on your boo boo. She owns sensible shoes and wears them to even the most dressy events. She has a huge garden in her backyard and is currently fighting the homeowner's association to allow chickens. She also knows the difference between a chicken and a rooster.

Politicus Activus - This mother has no less than ten pictures of her with various politicians which she proudly displays along with pictures of her immediate family. Her children have memorized the Bill of Rights from age 4. She is a pistol packing momma and a date with her husband might include skeet shooting or a trip to the gun range. Her FaceBook profile picture is the American flag. 

Curriculum Junkus - This mother knows every curriculum out there because she has purchased it at one time or another. She has a large collection of demo DVDs. She uses the homeschool curriculum fair vendor map to schedule out a plan to hit every booth. She brings a backpack for all the flyers and it includes her lunch which she eats while she walks from the 11:15 vendor to the 11:30 vendor.

Bookus Collectus - This mother has large bookcases on every wall surface of her home. She usually has two or three copies of several select books because she forgot she had purchased it or cannot locate it when needed. She has three books on her nightstand which she is reading simultaneously. She also has four sets of reading glasses which she can never find. If you need an out-of-print book, this mother has it. Don't confuse this mother with a curriculum junkus. Her book collection may contain some curriculum, but the presence of out of print curriculum will help you distinguish that this is bookus collectus and not a curriculum junkus.

Smartus as a Whipus - This mother has a master's degree in something you have never heard of. She is currently trying to be a contestant on Jeopardy and plays various word games with her friends online. She has usually travelled extensively. These mothers usually run in packs but are quite friendly.

Science Nutus - This mother has no less than three microscopes in various locations throughout her home. Any dead insect eye, wing or leg must be viewed through said microscopes. She has a sheep heart and cow eye in her freezer for future dissection projects. Test tubes can be found amongst her dishes. She has a family membership to the local science museum. Any moldy food in the refrigerator must be viewed by all family members and any unsuspecting visitor.

Hot Homeschool Womanus - This mother wears full makeup to workout at her local gym. She will never be seen in "mom jeans" and doesn't own a pair of comfortable shoes. She will cancel coffee with you in a heartbeat if her salon calls to tell her they can fit in her eyebrow waxing. Her nail are always perfect. She goes on a cruise with her husband regularly.

Note: I'm a homeschool mom too. If we can't laugh at ourselves, we should laugh at each other. Smile.

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